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The Great Beauty

Before many of our great heritage sites perish under the vacuous war of politics, they quietly hold their ground paragons of the past, awaiting their fate while the rest of the metropolis hurtles by.

Today the Metropolitan Theater is dark, eerie, and its pillars reek of piss from passers-by, who are ironically also the only people who come close enough to appreciate it. A peek through its broken glass walls will reveal only leftovers from the past. Built by Juan Arellano in 1930, it was envisioned from a modern and expressionistic style, housing two mural paintings by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo, and a modern sculpture by Francisco Monti. The front face of the theater brandishes an iridescent stained glass signage carrying the name “Metropolitan.” Operas, concerts, and plays were performed under its roof, which was partially destroyed during the war. Post-war, it became a boxing arena, a motel, and a bar, dipping its stature from an architectural treasure to evidence of neglect. Forgotten, the theater continues to deteriorate, patiently waiting for someone to take notice before it completely crumbles.

Originally published in Esquire magazine, December 2014.

Read the full story online at Esquire Philippines.


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